Bragging rights?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Some 150 specialized license plates are available in North Carolina. Maybe it’s time Kannapolis considered stepping out with a tag touting the N.C. Research Campus.

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. More and more, North Carolinians are wearing their hearts on their license plates. The tags on their vehicles may say “Protect our coast,” “Share the journey: Blue Ridge Parkway,” “Friends of Great Smoky Mountains” or “I Care,” with a drawing of a dog and cat.

Then there are the sports fans and university supporters who use tags promoting N.C. State, UNC or the Panthers.

After groups get approval from the state to put their stamp on special license plates, the state then sells them for a higher price — $10 to $30 over the basic tag. With hundreds of thousands of people buying the special tags, the program pumps millions of dollars each year into state parkland purchases, highway beautification and private, nonprofit causes, according the The News & Observer of Raleigh.

An aircraft restorer helped get a plate for the Carolinas Aviation Museum as a way to promote the museum. (Are you listening, N.C. Transportation Museum officials?) The N.C. Research Campus might not need promotion, but the way it could carry this region forward is remarkable — and worth telling the world about.